otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the New King James
Version, Holy Bible.
Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers.
Scripture quotations noted NAS are from the New American Standard
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1972, 1975, 1977,
by The Lockman Foundation.
How to Be Led
by the Spirit
Volume One: Following Peace in Your Spirit
Second edition, first printing
Copyright © 1999 by Dale W. Leander
P.O. Box 701045
Tulsa, OK 74170
1 (800) GET-WORD
Special thanks to Janet Babb Kendall for her initiative
and labor for the Lord. She volunteered to transcribe and edit
my tapes from this series into the basic manuscript that produced
this book. Her work will bless many believers and help them find
God's will for decisions in their lives.
To my wonderful wife, Judi.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
||Being Led by the Peace
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
||Some Personal Examples
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
||Other Issues in Guidance
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I want to thank Jadell Forman for
her editorial advice and Kim Kreilaus of KMK Design for all
his artistic work, advice, and friendship.
I want to especially thank my wonderful
wife, Judi, for being so important to my life. She is a great
woman, wife, mother, partner, friend, and minister. Much of
what I have done in ministry has been helped greatly by having
her at my side.
Last, I want to give God all the glory
for anything good that comes out of my life, ministry, tapes,
and books. I want to acknowledge Jesus Christ as my personal Savior,
the head of my ministry, and the one who deserves all honor and
praise. If the brief teaching in this book helps your life in
some way, thank Jesus for it.
|Most Christians know they
are supposed to obey the written Word of God. That is the
"bedrock" of all decision making. As a Christian,
you should never, ever violate the written Word. But what
do you do about the dozens (or hundreds) of decisions you
have to make each day that are not covered by the written
Word? How about the major decisions such as job changes,
which car to buy, which house to buy, or even which person
to marry? This book will show you a powerful principle you
can use daily to follow the Holy Spirit's leading for better
decision making in your life.
the moment you are born again, you have a completely new
human spirit placed inside you by God, making the born-again
believer a "new creation in Christ." This righteous,
holy, human spirit in you is your direct connection with
the Holy Spirit of God. This new human spirit is alive,
not dead, and is where God's Holy Spirit dwells.
Three-fourths of the Bible
is the Old Testament, and the people of the Old Testament
had essentially a "dead" human spirit on the
inside of them. For this reason, they could not be led
by the Holy Spirit like you and I can. In the strictest
sense, the examples in the Old Testament of people making
decisions do not apply to believers today. We are New
Testament, born-again believers. Romans
8:14 says, "For as many as are
led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."
In other words, the sons of God (that includes both men
and women) are led by the Spirit of God.
The book of Proverbs teaches
that wise counsel from other people is important. But
it is more important to know that you can and should be
led by the Spirit in making decisions. You need to know
how to be led, what you will feel or experience, and how
to avoid mistakes which could lead to a wrong decision.
The illustration of the Old
Testament tabernacle will show you the spirit-soul-body
relationship. Do you remember the tent that Moses and
the children of Israel moved around with them in the wilderness?
It is an illustration of how you and I are made. There
was an outer wall creating an outer court which represents
our body. Inside the wall, near the center, was a large
tent. And inside that tent were two rooms, representing
the two halves of our inner being. Inside the tent, these
two rooms were called the Holy Place and the Most Holy
Place (sometimes called the Holy of Holies). Inside each
of us, the Holy Place represents the soul (mind, will,
and emotions) and the Most Holy Place represents our spirit.
Our spirit is where God's Spirit dwells.
You are led by the Holy Spirit
through your spirit, not through your mind or your
body. The mind and body have their important God-given roles,
but they are not what you are to be led by spiritually.
Many people are led by their mind, education, and experience.
And even worse, many people are led by the desires of their
body: passions, lusts, and appetites. Sometimes people are
led by their relatives, their friends, or the peer pressures
of society, including what they see on television. But God's
children are supposed to be led by God's Spirit, just as
it says in Romans
2: BEING LED BY THE PEACE OF GOD
|The most important Scripture
in the study of how to be led by the Spirit of God is Colossians
3:15,"let the peace of God rule in your
hearts." One of the definitions in Strong's
Concordance of the word rule is "umpire."
In other words, you are to let the peace of God be the "umpire"
in your spirit. What does an umpire do? An umpire makes
we all receive thousands of pieces of information and
make hundreds, even thousands, of decisions. Some are
very automatic, like driving forward when a traffic light
turns green. Others are much more complex, such as the
needs of our families, the jobs we perform, or the amount
of time we spend in prayer and Bible study. Wouldn't you
like to make every decision right? Being able to make
the right decision more often will move you a long way
toward having every need met: spirit, soul, body, finances,
career, recreation, and everything. God wants to help
you every time make the right decision!
The Holy Spirit is the most
intelligent being in the universe and He lives inside
you. He knows the right answer to every decision
and every situation that occurs in your life and He wants
to help you. He guides you in making decisions by His
peace "ruling in your heart,"
meaning in your spirit.
Psychologists and psychiatrists
are specialists who deal with the human soul. The root
word psyche comes from the Greek language, meaning
soul. The Greek word for spirit is pneuma. So
a pneumologist would be someone who specializes
in things of the spirit and that is what you want
to become. You want to be able to "home-in,"
or concentrate, on your own spirit: not your mind, your
education, the advice of your friends, the newspaper,
television, or the desires of your body.
Statistics would indicate
you could flip a coin to make your decisions and be right
an average of half the time. Do you only want to make
50 percent of your decisions right? No! Success is not
built on being "half right." How do you increase
the number of right decisions? You do it by receiving
the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God Who knows all things
all the time.
Isaiah 55:10-12 (NAS) is
a confirmation of the Colossians 3:15 scripture. It reads,
"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there without watering the earth, and
making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the
sower and bread for the eater; so shall My word be which
goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty,
without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding
in the matter for which I sent it. For you will go out
with joy, and be led forth with peace..."
(emphasis added). God's Word comes in two forms:
the written word, which is the Bible, and the spoken word,
which is God's direct communication with His sons and
daughters by the Holy Spirit.
God's written Word is unshakable
and should be the foundation for every area of your life.
But as valuable as the written Word is, it does not tell
you whether you should buy a Ford or a Chevy, or the house
on Elm Street or Oak Street. Sometimes believers try to
make God's Word answer these questions by throwing open
the Bible, closing their eyes, pointing to a verse and
deciding that wherever their finger lands must be God's
answer. If the first few tries don't seem to make sense,
they just keep trying. Other people look for "signs"
or circumstances around them. But this is not being led
by God's Spirit!
The fact is, most of the
decisions we make each day cannot be found directly in
the Word of God. This does not in any way devalue God's
Word; some time invested daily reading the Word is a must!
God's Word is true and you should not ever violate the
written Word of God. The Holy Spirit of God will never
lead you in a way that is contrary to the written Word
of God. That is a basic principle. For example, if a Christian
comes to me and says God told him or her to marry an unbeliever,
I know with assurance that God did not say any such thing.
The written Word clearly says in 2nd Corinthians 6:14,
"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers."
There is no greater yoke than marriage, so the Holy Spirit
would not tell someone to marry an unbeliever.
Think of God's written Word
as the bedrock of all your decision making. You never,
ever violate this principle. The challenge then is to
deal with those decisions which are not specifically covered
in the written Word.
Now what if you are in a
difficult situation and sin seems like the only reasonable
option? It is not God's answer! That is the deceptiveness
of sin. In 1st Corinthians 10:13 (NAS), scripture says,
"No temptation has overtaken you but such as
is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow
you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the
temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you
may be able to endure it." No matter how
difficult the decision or the situation you are in seems
to be, sin is never God's solution. God has a
solution, but it is never sin.
Violating God's written Word
is never the proper option for a Christian. Sin is always
an option, but it's always the wrong option. God is faithful
and no matter how far behind you are on your bills or
what sickness is attacking your body, 1st Corinthians
10:13 promises that God will provide a way out
Then how do you know what
to do in difficult decisions? How do you know what the
answer is? If the written Word does not cover it, then
that is when you must follow peace in your heart,
and that peace will be your foundation for decision making.
This is what Romans 8:16 is referring to when it says,
"the Spirit Himself bears witness with our
spirit." It is referring to us sensing God's
peace in our spirit.
What building blocks may
go on top of the foundation of peace? Some of God's options
are: visions, dreams, prophecies, voices, open doors,
closed doors, circumstances, and "coincidences."
Any or all of these things may occur and be an influence
in your decision, but you must handle each one based
upon the foundation of peace in your spirit. No matter
which of these options have occurred, do not act on it
unless that option gives you peace in your spirit at that
moment. If someone prophesies that you are supposed to
change jobs tomorrow but you don't have peace in your
spirit, don't you dare resign! Even if it's Mr. or Mrs.
Famous Evangelist, don't do it unless you have peace
in your spirit. Many, many people have been deceived
and misled by what seemed to be a form of spectacular
guidance when they didn't have peace in their spirit about
Now, let's say you know a
prophecy (or whatever) was of God. You are absolutely
sure. If you do not have peace in your spirit then it
may simply not be God's timing. God has a will
for your life, but He also has perfect timing and
the two are completely different things. For example,
I know a man who had an open vision of himself teaching
and preaching at the meetings of a well-known minister.
He was excited! He started preparing right away
he was going to be ready. But it was eleven years before
the vision came to pass. It came to pass just exactly
as he had seen in the vision, but there were eleven years
between when God gave him the vision and when God brought
it to pass. There were times during those years when he
thought, "Well, I guess that wasn't God; I guess
it was too much pizza late at night...." But
it was God, and God brought it to pass.
How do you bring
a prophecy to pass? Just believe it. That is what Mary
did when the angel said she would give birth to the Savior.
Luke 1:45 says, "Blessed is she who believed,
for there will be a fulfillment of those things which
were told her from the Lord." You don't have
to get into the flesh and start trying to make it happen.
That is what Abraham did. If God gave you the prophecy
or vision, He is well able to bring it to pass. After
all, He created over a billion galaxies with about a billion
stars in each one and He knows the name of every single
star. He is well able to bring to pass that vision, prophecy,
or whatever guidance He gave you.
The Bible gives
us many examples of the importance of God's timing. Moses
was a man of God, but because he got ahead of God's timing,
the children of Israel were not led out of captivity until
they had been under Egyptian rule for 430 years. They
served an extra 30 years because Moses acted
outside of God's timing. (For further reference on this,
you can study Genesis 15:13, Exodus 12:40, and Acts 7:6,25.)
The lesson in this is that we must pray for wisdom for
our leaders because their choices may affect us! The Bible
tells us clearly we should pray for our leaders (1st Timothy
2:1-2). Now you know why so that we may live a
peaceable and quiet life.
are an example of operating outside of God's timing. God
had told Abraham that he and his wife Sarah would have
a son and that Abraham would be the father of many nations.
But because they were well advanced in years and Sarah
was barren at that time, they decided they would help
God out and agreed that Abraham should lay with Sarah's
maid, Hagar. Sure enough, that relationship produced a
son. But it was not the son whom God had promised.
Being led by
the Spirit means not only knowing God's will, but also
knowing his timing. Therefore you must interpret any visions,
dreams, prophecies, voices, and so forth in light of the
peace in your spirit. A lack of peace in your
spirit to support a vision or prophecy may simply mean
it is not God's right timing. Remember that God may show
you something years ahead of time just to encourage you
and keep you going. If God has spoken something to you,
then praise Him for it. It will come to pass if you believe
it and stay in faith. If you get into unbelief, you can
prevent a lot of good things from happening.
Now it is only
fair to point out that true faith will usually produce
appropriate corresponding action. James 2:26 tells us
that faith without works (corresponding action) is dead.
There is sometimes a fine balance between doing nothing
and doing too much. If we really believe God, there should
be some outward evidence that we believe. But that does
not mean we should take it upon ourselves to try to manipulate
people or in some way force God's Word to come to pass
in our lives. Hebrews 6:12 says, "Imitate those
who through faith and patience inherit the promises."
3: SOME PERSONAL EXAMPLES
Here is a practical example
from my own life about being led by peace in making a
decision about a job. Many years ago I was teaching accounting
at a large state university. I had begun to work on my
master's degree and I liked my teaching job. Over the
summer, I wasn't going to teach any classes so I needed
a temporary job. I interviewed with two companies. One
was a prosperous oil company that would pay me a high
salary for a special three-month summer internship. I
was sure that was the job for me! The other company was
a computer company that serviced the banking industry.
And while it was a good firm, they only offered me an
hourly wage that was far less than the oil company's pay
scale. I simply thought the computer company was not offering
enough money. I wanted to make as much money as I possibly
could over the summer to cover my living expenses and
tuition costs in the school year starting that fall.
I considered the computer
company's wage offer and thought, "That can't
be God." And that's what anyone would think,
right? But the pivotal word was think. Or you
might say, reason. Even though I was convinced
that the computer job couldn't be the right one, I still
prayed. I knew the principle to follow and I got very
still before God. When I considered the job at the computer
company, I had a real sense of peace. But I thought, "Oh,
no God! Don't You know how little this job pays? Do You
understand how small my check will be after federal income
tax, Lord?" Those were the thoughts that went
through my mind. Then I considered the job at the oil
company, but all I could sense was "noise" in
my spirit. I just could not get comfortable in my spirit
Remember, it's peace in your
spirit, not brain. We don't throw our intellect out, but
we don't lean on our intellect. In Proverbs 3:5-6 it says,
"Lean not on your own understanding; in all
your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
So I didn't lean on my brain or my reasoning, but I expected
Him to direct my path by peace in my spirit.
All I had peace about was
the job at the hourly wage with the computer company,
so I took it. Well, there were a number of things I didn't
know that God knew. The first thing I didn't know was
that after two months, my supervisor would come to me
and say, "Dale, we hired you into this job too
cheap." I didn't say it out loud, but inside
I thought, "Yes! My supervisor who to my knowledge
was not a Christian then said, "We should
have paid you more when we brought you on board, so I'm
going to give you a $2.00 per hour raise retroactive back
to the first day you started. We're going to figure out
what we owe you in additional back wages and cut you a
check right now. I'll go call the Accounting Department."
And he did! (And $2.00 an hour back then was worth a lot
more in today's money.) God can do the unusual. I didn't
do it, but God did!
The second thing I didn't
know was that over the summer the state government would
make a legislative change. They began requiring Ph.D.
professors to teach an increased number of semester hours
in order to maintain residency at the state universities.
For that reason, I got bumped out of teaching my classes,
along with many other undergraduate teaching fellows like
me who were working on their master's degrees while teaching.
We were forced to step out of our teaching assignments
to let professors with a full Ph.D. teach those classes.
I didn't know that I was
going to be out of a teaching job that fall, but when
I found out, I went to my supervisor at the computer company
and explained the situation. I asked if there was any
work I could continue doing for the company. He said,
"Any work? Sure! In fact, you can work any schedule
that you want. I know you are taking night classes, but
you might need some time during the day to be at school."
I told him the best schedule for me would be to work four
days a week with Fridays off, and he said, "Fine!"
Then, at the end of the year, they gave me another raise
and made me a salaried employee with full benefits. God
knew all those things ahead of time. I didn't. I
followed the peace in my spirit, and it all worked out.
I would never have received all those blessings if I had
followed my brain or regular advice from average people.
I praise God for wise counsel
and advice don't get me wrong. If the counsel you
receive gives you peace, keep it. But if it doesn't, just
toss it out. And always consider the source of advice
the spiritual maturity and motives of the person.
I once received a "prophecy"
from a woman who wrote it out for me on paper. It told
me who I should marry. (She wanted me to marry her daughter!)
I didn't have peace about it in my spirit, but I took
it to the pastor I was serving under at that time and
asked him what he thought. He said, "Do you have
peace in your spirit about it?" I said, "No."
He said, "Burn it in your charcoal grill!"
And that's just what I did, and I didn't worry about it.
Another example of following
spiritual peace concerns a feeling I had in my spirit
that I should change churches from one called Shiloh to
one called Bethel when I was first starting out in the
ministry. I was involved in the youth ministry at Shiloh
and it was a good church. I began to pray about it and
went to the leadership at Shiloh. They didn't want me
to make a change. They felt God was using me there and
that I had potential to be an important part of their
future plans. I appreciated their sincerity. They made
a real effort to express their honest opinions and they
were good people. Still, what I had peace in my spirit
about was changing to the church called Bethel.
Then a man in leadership
at Shiloh told me to pray that God would give me a vision
or a dream. He implied that in something as important
as changing churches, God would give me a vision or a
dream. I did a lot of praying and fasted a total of twenty-two
days over the next three months. But no vision or dream
occurred to answer my question and neither did any prophecy,
open door, etc.
Finally, I visited my parent's
house for dinner one night and shared what I had been
praying about. But all they said was to follow the peace
in my spirit to make my decision. At that point, I told
them, "This is it. I'm changing churches."
The next day I had lunch with a Christian friend at work
who I would get together with for fellowship every three
or four months. When she asked me what the Lord was doing
in my life, I told her I was changing churches, but I
did not mention names of the churches. She didn't live
in the same city I did and was not familiar with the churches
there. But she immediately said, "I've got a word
from the Lord for you." Then she gave me the
scripture "1st Kings 13." I thought to myself,
"Oh, that's probably a list of the genealogies
of the tribes of Israel or something." I knew
scriptures about guidance, but there weren't any in 1st
Kings that I immediately knew of. But I wrote it down
and thanked her anyway.
Later, I thought that I should
at least check it out because I would be ashamed if she
asked me about it and I hadn't even looked it up. When
I turned to 1st Kings 13 and 14 and read them, I started
praising God! Those passages are about a young prophet
traveling between cities and two of the cities named are
Bethel and Shiloh. That got my attention! The young prophet
was given certain advice by an older prophet. He listened
to the older prophet and followed his advice instead of
obeying the Lord and he was killed by a lion! I
thought, "Praise God, I made the right decision
and obeyed the Lord."
The Lord showed me in the
Word that what pleases Him is faith. The Bible says in
Hebrews 11:6 (NAS), "And without faith it is
impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must
believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those
who seek Him." God waited for me to make
the decision in faith, and then He gave
me the supernatural confirmation through a friend. And
at the first event I went to at that church, I met the
woman who became my wife.
Don't seek signs and wonders,
seek the Giver of the supernatural, and He will
show you the signs and wonders when and if
He wants to. Your job is to follow peace in your spirit,
making your decisions by faith. If God sees fit to give
you something supernatural, fine. And if He doesn't, fine.
He's God and we should not tell Him how to direct and
guide us and whether to give us a sign or a wonder or
something spectacular. He knows a lot more about guidance
than we do. We should just follow His instructions and
we will be much better off.
4: OTHER ISSUES IN GUIDANCE
What about fleeces? A lot
of people read about Gideon's fleece in Judges 6. My opinion
is they will get fleeced if they try fleeces.
Gideon was a man of doubt and unbelief, he was not a man
of faith. He was an Old Testament Hebrew who was not born-again
in his spirit. Three different times he asked God to give
him signs. Two of the times he used a fleece, which is
a piece of sheep's wool. Using the fleece was a sign of
doubt and unbelief. For a New Testament believer, to use
"fleeces" would be doubt not faith. And
Romans 14:23 says, "Whatever is not from faith
Remember that just because
the Bible records something that someone did, God does
not always intend it as an example for us to follow. David
committed adultery with Bathsheba and he had her husband,
Uriah, killed. Is this a good example for us to follow?
No, of course not! It is recorded in the Bible, but it
is not recorded to be an example for us to follow. It
is also recorded in the Bible that Gideon used a fleece,
but it is not intended to be an example for us to follow.
Gideon was a man of fear, not faith. He was hiding from
the Midianites. He did end up obeying God and leading
the children of Israel to victory in battle. But he used
the fleece out of doubt and unbelief, not because that
was God's plan for how people should get guidance and
Romans 8:14 tells us the
children of God are led by His Spirit not by fleeces.
If you use fleeces, you'll get fleeced! Why? First, you
are operating in doubt and unbelief, not by the New Testament
command to be led by the Spirit. Second, you will get
fleeced because you are operating in the natural
realm. 2nd Corinthians 4:4 (NAS) says, "...the
god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving,
that they might not see...." What god of
this world is Paul talking about? The devil! Satan is
the god of this world (this world system). Any time you
get into the natural realm to seek guidance,
you are in the realm of the god of this world. You are
seeking guidance in Satan's territory if you are operating
in the natural realm. Any time you decide to flip coins,
or flip open your Bible and point to a verse, or put out
a "fleece" (anything in the natural realm),
you open yourself up to be potentially misled by the devil
because he is the god of this world. How do you stay in
God's realm? You stay in the spiritual realm.
By following peace in your spirit, you stay in God's realm
and you stay in the area where God will lead you.
Isaiah 57:21 says there is
no peace for the wicked. When you are born-again,
you are in God's family and you are capable of operating
in God's realm. You have the ability to follow spiritual
peace. There is no peace for the wicked. And when you
get over into the devil's territory, the devil can't use
peace because he doesn't have any peace. He can't
create peace. He can cause confusion, strife, and all
kinds of anxiety, but he cannot create spiritual peace.
The book of Ephesians says
twice that your spirit is sealed. That means the devil
does not have access to the inside of your spirit. When
you stay tuned-in to your spirit, following peace, you
have beat the devil on two counts: (1) he doesn't have
access to your spirit, that's God's realm, and (2) you
are following peace and he can't create peace. You have
tuned him out two different ways when you make your decisions
in the realm of your spirit. If you choose to get over
into the natural realm with fleeces, you are in the devil's
territory. And he can mislead people who are seeking answers
in the natural realm.
The good news is that you
can follow peace 100 percent of the time in every decision
you will make all of your life. There is never a decision
you will have to make that you can't use peace in your
spirit. If the written Word covers it, then it's a closed
case and the decision already made. But, for the vast
majority of decisions you make in life where the written
Word doesn't cover it, you need to tune into God's peace
and you can do that 100 percent of the time, all
your life. There will never be a situation where you can't
tune into God's peace in your spirit.
Now even when you are staying
in the spirit realm, following peace in your spirit, don't
abandon common sense. You don't abandon normal means that
God has already made available for you to get information.
As an illustration, I know how to be led by the Spirit,
but I still wear a watch. Watches are available in America,
they are very inexpensive to own, and you can be on time
by following your watch. You don't have to show up for
your appointments when you feel peace that you should
be there! That would be putting God to the test because
He has provided the means to use a watch to be on time.
A second example is your
checkbook. God has provided the means of arithmetic to
add up the balance in your checkbook. Therefore, you shouldn't
say, "I'll write checks until I no longer have
peace." You could end up in jail for writing
hot checks! That is also putting God to the test. The
principle is this: you use what God has given you. That
way you don't put God to the test.
Out of laziness, some people
don't want to be diligent in obtaining natural information
which is available and pertains to their situation. They
want God to take care of everything for them simple
with no effort. But that's not the way God works and that
is not the principle the Bible lays out for us to follow.
God expects you to do your part, then He will do the things
you can't do and provide the information you can't know.
For example, I know of a
pastor whose church got into financial trouble because
he stopped looking at the financial figures for a number
of months. He didn't know what their revenues and expenses
were. He just kept spending and making decisions. And
in about six months the church was in a terrible financial
situation. That is putting God to the test. If the information
is available, but you are not willing to use it, then
don't expect supernatural guidance to work because that
is violating a written principle of God by putting Him
to the test.
In Numbers 14:22-23, the
children of Israel put God to the test ten times, but
then God had enough and caused all of them over the age
of twenty to die in the wilderness (except Joshua and
Caleb). A lot of people think, "Well, I've put
God to the test before and He still came through."
That's what the children of Israel thought nine times.
They tried it a tenth time and died in the wilderness.
Do you know how many times you have put God to the test?
Sometimes we don't even realize when we have put God to
the test. Our current count might be very near the end
of His grace! So don't even think about putting God to
Because we live under a dispensation
of mercy and grace, people sometimes seem to "get
away" with more things than people did in the Old
Testament. In the Old Testament, people could pick up
sticks on the Sabbath and get stoned to death! Under the
New Testament dispensation of mercy and grace, we may
see people that seem to get away with horrible sins, and
they seem to just keep on living and doing fine. They
are really not getting away with anything,
but it seems that way because of God's mercy. Mercy and
grace simply provide more time before the consequences
occur. Everyone will reap what they sow, it is
just a matter of time. Don't put the Lord to the test,
because the end of that kind of thing is always bad. People
that sow bad seed reap and weep.
In the New Testament there
are two Greek words which are translated into English
as "word." These words are logos and
rhema. Most of the time when we talk about the
Word of God, we are referring to the written word, logos.
But God uses both kinds of words related to guidance:
written and spoken. Because of the sinful nature
of mankind in our natural society, we have come to depend
upon written words in our daily life in order
to be able to enforce contracts and conduct business.
But God is not untrustworthy concerning His words.
Whether He gives it to you in writing or speaks it to
you, God's words are totally dependable and His
spoken word will never violate His written Word. And of
course the way you perceive God's spoken word to your
spirit is usually through "peace." Jesus is
called the Prince of Peace, you know.
In charismatic circles particularly,
we often hear people say "God spoke to me about
such and such." What does it really mean to hear
God's voice? When a person hears God's voice audibly,
it means that the gift of discerning of spirits operated.
This is not what everybody should be experiencing
every day on every decision. However, that is the impression
that you can sometimes receive from charismatic ministers.
You can be left with the impression that if you are not
hearing an audible voice, then somehow you are not as
spiritual as others. That is wrong!
Some ministers do operate
in the gift of discerning of spirits more often than others
just because that is God's will for their lives. In a
moment of time, that inner voice simply becomes audible.
You may have understood the gift of discerning of spirits
as enabling a person to see a spirit, but that is just
one aspect of discerning. It is not the gift of seeing
spirits or the Word would say that. One way you can discern
spirits is to see them, but another way is to hear
I have had this gift operate
in my life many times, particularly in hearing
spirits, both good and evil. When it is God's voice that
you literally heard, it is simply the gift of
discerning of spirits operating, and the way you discerned
it was through hearing. God is a spirit and you can sometimes
hear His voice this way. Remember, it is not the gift
of discerning of evil spirits. Otherwise the
Word would call it that. What kind of spirits are there?
There are good and evil spirits. First of all, God is
a spirit. And angels and demons are both spirits.
According to 1st Corinthians
12:11, the spiritual gifts, including discerning of spirits,
operate as God wills. So when God wills for you to hear
His voice audibly, it simply means that He desired for
you to operate in the gift of discerning of spirits for
a particular moment.
Why doesn't God allow us
to hear His audible voice more often? It has been my own
experience, confirmed by the experience of others in ministry,
that God uses His audible voice when He knows "the
going will be tough" and He wants to give you
something tangible to encourage you. When God knows a
person will be facing difficult times, He sometimes gives
him or her something tangible and supernatural. This helps
a person "hang on." But this may make
you think twice about wanting to hear His audible voice.
Some people ask, "What
does it sound like when God speaks in an audible voice?"
The best way I can describe it is to say that it sounds
like the voice is coming from the "center" of
your head the same way a voice sounds when you
are listening with good quality stereo headphones on.
It doesn't sound like it's coming from your right ear
or your left ear, but from the center of your head. The
same could be said of standing in the center of a room
between two stereo speakers. Again, the sound does not
seem to come from one speaker or the other, but seems
to come from the center of the room. When God has spoken
audibly to me, it never sounded like it came from the
left or the right.
Is God only speaking to you
when the gift of discerning of spirits is operating? No!
He is speaking to you all the time in your spirit.
That's the "still, small voice." How
do you know that voice? You don't listen for syllables,
consonants and vowels, you listen for peace when
you are making decisions.
Two scriptures we covered
were "you will be led forth by peace"
and "let the peace of God rule in your heart."
It is by peace that you turn "hearing from God"
into practical, daily decision-making. With all the decisions
we have to make daily, we would be overwhelmed with sound
if we heard an audible voice regarding each decision.
It would be like trying to talk to someone while wearing
headphones from a Sony Walkman radio or tape player. You
couldn't carry on a conversation because the you were
listening to that Sony Walkman!
If we were always listening
to God talk like that, we would not be able to communicate
well with the people around us. We would probably have
car wrecks because we would be constantly distracted and
unable to pay attention to what was going on! That is
why God doesn't speak audibly very often and why He chooses
to use peace in our spirit. He is always talking to us
in our spirit.
At least four times the New
Testament says that God is no respecter of persons, so
if He will speak to one of His children, then He is obligated
to speak to us all. If you have seldom or never heard
His audible voice, He is still speaking to you because
the Word shows us He has to. He is speaking to us regularly,
but it is up to us to choose to tune in and be led by
Many times, people want to
seek a prophecy for their situation. They believe they
will know just what to do, or that something will really
come to pass, if they can just receive a word from God
for their current situation.
I personally don't seek prophecies
because it has been my experience that they are not necessary
to make a sound decision. I had fasted and prayed hoping
to get some supernatural sign from the Lord when I was
trying to decide about changing churches from Shiloh to
Bethel. I did not get a prophecy or any spectacular form
of guidance. But making the decision in faith by the peace
in my spirit turned out to be one of the best decisions
I ever made. And God gave me the supernatural confirmation
after I made the decision. Also, I met my wife,
Judi, at that church, and we went on to work in leadership
So follow the written Word
of God when it applies to your situation. But follow the
peace in your spirit when the decision is not covered
by the written Word. And don't let people, circumstances,
or fear throw you off of God's principle of "being
led forth with peace."
(Note: a teaching titled Developing
Spiritual Sensitivity is available to
help you be more spiritually sensitive in knowing God's
peace in your spirit.)
TO RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE & ENJOY THE PROMISES OF GOD
to Be Led by the Spirit series is available
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books and tapes are $4.00 each, prepaid, mailed to your
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THIS TEACHING SERIES: In
this series of teachings, Dale shares many practical
revelations from the Word of God illustrated by personal
testimonies to help every believer make better decisions.
Keys are given to help Christians become more spiritually
sensitive and to overcome hindrances in hearing God. Tips
on discerning and overcoming deception are given, as well
as insights on judging spectacular guidance such as prophecy,
visions, and dreams. The last teaching in this series is
a summary of principles to apply in personal guidance issues.
teachings, you can expect to grow more confident and consistent
in your decision making, especially in those ambiguous
areas where there are no scriptural right or wrong alternatives.
And making better decisions will naturally produce a better
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